Friday Hack Chat: Tenaya Hurst From Arduino

Join us this Friday at noon PDT for a Hack Chat with Tenaya Hurst of Arduino. If you’ve been one of the big Maker Faires over the last few years (or innumerable other live events) and stopped by the Arduino area you’ve probably met Tenaya. She is the Education Accounts Manager for Arduino and loves working with wearable electronics.

Come and discuss maker education and the role Arduino is playing in getting our students excited about electronics, and STEAM education in general. Tenaya will also be discussing a new wearable tech kit she’s been working on. We hope to see the gear in person at Bay Area Maker Faire next week.

Here’s How To Take Part:

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging.

Log into Hackaday.io, visit that page, and look for the ‘Join this Project’ Button. Once you’re part of the project, the button will change to ‘Team Messaging’, which takes you directly to the Hack Chat.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: Chip Gracey from Parallax

Learn the ins and outs of multi-core microcontrollers as Chip Gracey leads this week’s Hack Chat on Friday 5/5 at noon PDT. Chip founded Parallax and has now been working for more than a decade on the Propeller 2 design, a microcontroller which has 8 and 16 core options.

When it comes to embedded development, most people think of a single process running. Doing more than one task at a time is an illusion provided by interrupts that stop one part of your program to spend a few cycles on another part before returning. The Propeller 2 has true parallel processing; each core can run its own part of the program. From the embedded engineer’s perspective that makes multiple real-time operations possible. Where things get really interesting is how those cores work together.

Here’s your chance to hear about multi-core embedded first hand, from both the silicon design side and the firmware developer side. Join us for a Parallax Hack Chat this Friday at noon PDT.

Here’s How To Take Part:

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging.

Log into Hackaday.io, visit that page, and look for the ‘Join this Project’ Button. Once you’re part of the project, the button will change to ‘Team Messaging’, which takes you directly to the Hack Chat.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

IuT ! IoT

Let’s build the Internet of USEFUL Things, not just the Internet of Things. IuT ! IoT

That’s what we’ll be doing over the next five weeks. The second challenge of the 2017 Hackaday Prize begins today. We’re looking for the best ideas we can find for useful connected devices. Twenty entries will recieve $1,000 and move on to the final round to vie for the top prizes ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

There is no doubt that the future is connected. It has been our future since the advent of the telegraph, and we’re unarguably becoming more connected at a faster rate. The phone in your hand, pocket, or bag connects you to the bulk of human knowledge. But it doesn’t yet connect you to very many “things”. It won’t be that way for long.

Already we’ve seen cameras (security, baby monitor, and everything in between) appear as some of the earliest connected devices, and they’ve brought with them all of the unintended consequences of poorly secured computer gear connected to the wider Internet. At least remote cameras have a purpose; there have been more than enough product launches for things that don’t. Our go-to counter-example is the Internet-connected toaster which is the topic of our wonderful art from Joe Kim this morning. Who needs to toast remotely? Nobody.

Let’s Invent the IoT

Here is our chance to do it right. How can Internet of Things make life better? What things become more meaningful when added to a network and what does that look like? How do we continue to connect our world while safeguarding privacy and being mindful of security. Finding answers to these questions will lead you to Build Something that Matters.

72 Hours to Design Your Concept

The first challenge of the 2017 Hackaday Prize closes on this coming Monday morning. You have about 72 hours hours to submit your entry.

The challenge, called Design Your Concept, is really about a plan. Seeing a project through depends greatly on your ability to foresee where the pain points are. Will you get half way into your fabrication process and realize the PCB components won’t fit in the available space for your robot’s limbs? To be successful at this first round, show that you have a clear plan on all aspects of your design. It really is that easy. And you can start now and still get an entry together by Monday morning.

IuT ! IoT

The Hackaday Prize is about Building Something that Matters. That concept takes shape as we move into the second challenge round next week: IuT ! IoT.

This stands for “Internet of Useful Things, *not* Internet of Things”. We’ve proven that we can get connected devices into the hands of consumers that are useless, a privacy and security nightmare, and sometimes both. There are far fewer examples of really useful connected items that demonstrate a balance of privacy, security, and utility.

Sounds like fun, right? We think so, and there are several other payoffs to boot. The first is that we’re excited to see projects that address a social good. There is great power in technology, can you wield it in a way that benefits us all? Show us what you got and you may be one of 100 finalists awarded $1000. That pool of finalists — 20 from each of 5 challenge rounds — will go on to compete for the Hackaday Prize of $50,000 and four other top cash prizes of $20,000 to $5,000.

Assistive Technology Pioneer Patrick Joyce Has Passed Away

We are once again saddened to report the loss of another great hacker. Patrick Joyce has passed away after a decade-long struggle with ALS/MND. Patrick was the team captain of Eyedriveomatic, the Grand Prize winning hardware from the 2015 Hackaday Prize. The loss of Patrick comes quickly after receiving word on Monday about the death of Patrick’s teammate, Steve Evans.

Despite the challenges Patrick faced in the final years of his life he was a prolific hardware hacker. He and his team won the Hackaday Prize in 2015 for designing a system which allowed electric wheelchairs to be controlled with eye gaze software without altering the chairs themselves (which are often not owned by the user). But he was also a finalist in the Assistive Technologies challenge of the 2016 Hackaday Prize. The Raimi’s Arm project set its goal at creating bionic arms for kids — a noble and worthy challenge for everyone to undertake. Check out Patrick’s profile page and you’ll see he has also built an open source head mouse (an alternative to eye gaze controls) and a headphone robot which allowed him to put on and take off his own headphones.

I find it amazing what he achieved in his work considering the physical limitations placed before him. Patrick had limited use of one hand which he used with a joystick for mouse control. His typing was done using eye gaze. Yet he managed to design and document a number of incredible creations. This is inspiring.

Reflect on this loss to our community, but take comfort in the fact that his work lives on. Cody Barnes, the software developer for the Eyedrivomatic, plans to continue work on the project. If you are interested in helping to make that open source assistive tech available to more people who need it, now is a great time to send a private message to Cody to learn more about getting involved.

Steve Evans Passes Away, Leaves an Inspiring Legacy

It is with great sadness that Hackaday learns of the passing of Steve Evans. He was one of the creators of Eyedrivomatic, the eye-controlled wheelchair project which was awarded the Grand Prize during the 2015 Hackaday Prize.

News of Steve’s passing was shared by his teammate Cody Barnes in a project update on Monday. For more than a decade Steve had been living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). He slowly lost the function of his body, but his mind remained intact throughout. We are inspired that despite his struggles he chose to spend his time creating a better world. Above you can see him test-driving an Eyedrivomatic prototype which is the blue 3D printed attachment seen on the arm of his chair.

The Eyedrivomatic is a hardware adapter for electric wheelchairs which bridges the physical controls of the chair with the eye-controlled computer used by people living with ALS/MND and in many other situations. The project is Open Hardware and Open Source Software and the team continues to work on making Eyedriveomatic more widely available by continuing to refine the design for ease of fabrication, and has even begun to sell kits so those who cannot build it themselves still have access.

The team will continue with the Eyedrivomatic project. If you are inspired by Steve’s story, now is a great time to look into helping out. Contact Cody Barnes if you would like to contribute to the project. Love and appreciation for Steve and his family may be left as comments on the project log.

Behold the Many Builds of World Create Day

World Create Day was huge this year. Over 70 different groups on six continents got together on Saturday to work on projects as a global Hackaday community.

LearnOBots Labs in Islamabad, Pakistan

Perhaps the best documented World Create Day so far comes from our friends in Pakistan. LearnOBots hosted a day-long extravaganza of projects on everything from home automation, to wearable computing.

[Haziq] and [Rafay] didn’t just build an IoT lighting project together, they took the time to present their work in this excellent demo video. The build connects Arduino, a Bluetooth module, and a relay to drive the lightbulbs all controlled by an app they built with MIT app inventor to help a friend who is stuck on bed rest.

Browse through the event logs LearnOBots has posted and see a lot more of what went on. This image shows work on wearable interfaces. Fabric markers are used to draw out interesting designs which are then given interactivity using conductive thread and Lilypad boards. We also get a look at a user interface for Summer camp sign-up that was made using Raspberry Pi Zero and a 7″ screen. Other groups were working on custom input projects using Makey Makey and Arduino. The image at the top of this article shows some of the LearnOBots crew with a World Create Day poster, neat!

Appalachian Forge Works in Newland, North Carolina

World Create Day at Appalachian Forge Works brought a baby guitar amp to life on World Create Day. The basic circuit is built around an LM386 amp. It was designed using a whiteboard schematic before moving to the breadboard for prototyping.

For some folks that might be enough of a hacking sessions, but the effort didn’t stop there. An enclosure was designed and laser cut from plywood. This included etching labels for the power button and volume knob. There’s even fabric mesh for the speaker grill for a completely finished look that’s a showpiece even when not belting out some Black Keys.

Baltimore Hackerspace Breaks Out the Welder

Tiny wheels, big motors, and square tubing — it’s almost ready to hit the test track for some time trials. The gang over at Baltimore Hackerspace spent their World Create Day fabricating what surely will be the next championship entry in the Power Racing Series.

After this picture was snapped the team got to work on the control electronics for the racer, which end up in a transparent box between the motors. The team didn’t have time to install a driver’s seat but that didn’t prevent a late night test run.

Sounds of Sewing and Embedded Tinkering at The Bodgery in Madison

I celebrated World Create Day at The Bodgery in Madison, Wisconsin. There were a surprising variety of projects worked on at the meetup, at least three of them using something new to me:

[Josh Lange] brought along the driver boards he’s been designing. I was delighted to see the batteries used in the project. I didn’t realize you could buy 18650 Lithium cells in a consumer-friendly package (like AA batteries but larger) and there are battery holders to go along with them. I’m used to seeing these pulled out of old laptop batteries.

Hackaday’s own [Bob Baddeley] was on hand, working feverishly at the sewing machine. He’s fabricating an entire line of Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen costumes. They use those springy laundry baskets as the internal skeleton. Also being worked on at The Bodgery was an NES expansion port project that will make a custom cartridge hosting a Raspberry Pi Zero utilize the NES video hardware without altering the stock hardware. We also had a fun time working on embedded basics with a software engineer who is getting up to speed with embedded.

Tell Us About Your World Create Day!

We want to hear about what you did on World Create Day. We’ll be covering more events in the coming days so make sure you add your pictures and stories to your WCD event page. Event organizers get a special treat for making that effort. But mainly we want to show off the excitement and ingenuity that was abuzz around the world this past weekend.